Allow me to cut to the chase. This album is entirely too bloated. In less than a year’s time Atlanta trap trio Migos return with CULTURE II. Trap music doesn’t need three years to marinade. However, Migos clearly rushed this album. The clumsy 24-song tracklist was a bad omen. Without lyrical depth or variation, Migos tracks become redundant in an instant. At 105 minutes in length CULTURE II leaves little to the imagination. When its predecessor dropped last January, I thought Migos were on the verge of a special career. Even though this release does not tarnish the trio’s overall success, it reveals their intent. Streaming numbers affect an album’s profits now more than ever. Extended tracklists equate to higher overall sales. At times this method helps meaningful interludes receive more plays. Conversely, more times than not streaming specifications provide incentive for artists to stuff their albums with filler.
I will never understand this mentality. My biggest gripes with rap are the lifestyle’s side effects. On one hand, I enjoy some lavish bragging. On the other, this mentality breeds a greedy approach. If an artist’s main lyrical topic is money, why do they always need more? This is the paradox of the money system. Ultimately, that’s a topic for another day. Nevertheless, if Migos are good on cash they do not need to release a bloated album for more greenbacks. The first CULTURE album made me think they were different. I assumed they had more to offer than typical commercial hip-hoppers. What could have been the greatest trap trilogy of all-time has been reduced to yet another contemporary compilation. There are hidden gems here, though. It’s simply too time-consuming to sift through the mediocrity. That’s why I do what I do, however. I will mention the worthwhile tracks.
The second half outweighs the first. On consecutive albums Migos come out the gate weak. DJ Khaled thankfully does not return. The intro track here is equally forgettable nonetheless. It’s so damn repetitive and therefore hard not to skip. “Supastars” is a solid offering. It’s a good entry into the high-energy aesthetic. The album suffers from early fatigue. “CC” featuring Gucci Mane revives CULTURE II from utter boredom. Drake performs a refreshing verse yet “Walk It Talk It” is one of the least essential tracks in Migos’ discography. The Pharrell-laced “Stir Fry” is unique. It sounds like a high school basketball halftime hype track, standing out in a crowd of redundancy. “Flooded” is one of my favorites. The deep, rhythmic piano makes me want to flex on all my enemies. Although not the best overall track, “Notice Me” with Post Malone has an exceptional vibe.
The melodic groove is nothing short of infectious. I’ve been critical of Post in the past. If he keeps dropping hooks like this, I will be forced into fandom. Also, “Made Men” is a signature Migos song. It has an outlying style compared to their usual sound. Its soulful ambience brings red-curtain backdrops to mind. Other than these, many of the tracks heard here either underwhelm or fail completely. Despite releasing music through Quality Control, there is an apparent lack of attention to detail on CULTURE II. Is anyone double-checking their work? I doubt it, considering the amount of recycled song topics and repetitive soundscapes. A positive takeaway, however, is the talent of Quavo behind the board. He produces on 11 of 24 tracks. His most impressive credit comes on “Movin’ Too Fast”. Due to his inexperience Huncho’s beats hit or miss. This follow-up sadly cheapens an already commercialized style.